Riders & Writers: A Traveling Creative Writing Workshop on BART
Saturday, August 13, 2016
All creative writing is a journey. Writing in public is your witness. The new "Artist in Residence" is a personal practice of anti-displacement.
On Saturday, August 13th, 2017, 17 people joined me for a moving, roving, and traveling creative writing workshop. Deploying my skills as a poet, author, public transit writer, Facebook Statustician, and public theologian, I created and facilitated a 3-hour creative writing retreat on and in BART.
It was important for me to remind those within wordshot and earshot, that even in the midst of declining cultural spaces, we have ways to create space that is mobile, inexpensive and generative. We have ways to be "Artist in Residence", even while, the threat of gentrification and displacement looms. We have ways to be seen. Writing on BART train and public transportation allows me to hold space, to be seen writing, to be seen witnessing, to be seen taking notes, studying, recording and being inspired by the people around me. "Ridership" is a presence. If we can become mindful during our excursions, we can transform a public transportation system that exists to move bodies, sometimes for leisure activities, but primarily for labor. Writing in public, being a public writer, knowing that all creative writing is a journey, and to be seen writing is in service of presence, of being lulled into being cargo. Writing on BART reminds us that while ridership on BART is usually a quantitative measure of the commuter to and from work, BART also is transport for bodies holding stories. All bodies hold stories. On the BART train, these stories pile on top of one another, move, sway, stop, embark, disembark, and transfer. On the BART train, is where we enter into one another, become a movement of stories.
When silencing the voices and the sounds, when slowing down the pace and rush, are not options, how do we learn to write within sounds and rush? Being an urban writer requires knowing that there is within the noise, a story making itself known to you.
Embarking from the MacArthur BART Station, we "rode the rails". The "Riders & Writers" were led through guided writing and freewriting exercises about public witness, public writing, passage, journey, memory, home and love.
They brought with them hardcover journals, writing instruments or the most comfortable writing devices they had for the journey. They brought their witness. (Check out the inaugural Eventbrite Ticket Sales: https://goo.gl/6MzgFt)
For more information about the "Riders & Writers" BART Writing Workshop please contact me here.